Monday, March 19, 2007

The Heart of Darkness - By Michelle Cottle

A while back I wrote a semi-researched post entitled "Iraqnophobia" about Cheney's medical problems. Well, Michelle Cottle from the New Republic has written her own article (presumably after reading my humorous post - although I was not cited) about Dick Cheney's potential mental problems due to his heart condition. The article itself is over 1800 words and it would take up like 5 printer pages for me to post the entire thing here, so here are the first few paragraphs. It's interesting, and worth reading. [photos added]

Heart of Darkness
By Michelle Cottle, New Republic 9/3/07

What is wrong with Dick Cheney? Since the earliest days of his vice presidency, people have been asking this question. At first, it was mostly out of partisan pique; but, increasingly, it's in troubled tones, as one of the most powerful men on the planet grows ever more rigid, belligerent, and just plain odd in both his public utterances ("Go fuck yourself," Senator Leahy) and private actions (shoot a man in the face and not bother to call your boss 'til the next day: What's up with that?). In October 2005, longtime Bush-Cheney pal Brent Scowcroft fanned the Dick-has-changed flames when he told The New Yorker, "I consider Cheney a good friend--I've known him for thirty years. But Dick Cheney I don't know anymore." By the following February, a Newsweek profile noted that speculation as to the causes of the vice president's "darkening persona" had become a favorite Beltway parlor game. ("Has he been transformed, warped, perhaps corrupted--by stress, wealth, aging, illness, the real terrors of the world or possibly some inner goblins?") Fast-forward a year, and Cheney can hardly open his mouth without setting off a fresh wave of buzz about whether he has finally gone 'round the bend. As Washington Post columnist Jim Hoagland recently asked, "Is the vice president losing his influence, or perhaps his mind?"

Much of the Cheney speculation focuses on September 11 and the nation's subsequent immersion in a shadowy new breed of war. Another popular theory holds that Cheney's time in the private sector--and the enormous wealth, power, and privacy to which he grew accustomed--spoiled him for a return to public service. Yet another posits that Cheney, recognizing this president's need for a strong father figure, has gotten carried away with his role as White House pater familias. But, alongside such talk of external stressors, the possibility is often floated that Cheney's transformation has a more physiological root--specifically, that the vice president's chronic heart problems are to blame. While this theory tends to be quickly dismissed as lacking concrete proof, it nonetheless resurfaces again and again, as if people are unable to dismiss the notion entirely.

Part of the problem may be that the science surrounding this issue remains, in many ways, as much of a puzzle as the vice president himself. Currently, there exists an impressive (and growing) pile of research indicating numerous ways in which a person's cardiovascular troubles--as well as the treatment he receives for them--may erode his mental acuity, especially as a body ages. But there is, as yet, little consensus about the exact hows, whys, and what-to-do-about-its involved. Even so, considering all that we know about the sorry state of Cheney's circulatory system--spotlighted most recently by the March 5 news that the v.p. is suffering from deep vein thrombosis, a potentially fatal blood clot in his left leg that will require months of treatment with blood thinners--it seems only prudent to bring the cocktail chatter into the open and examine some of the research linking heart health and cognitive function. Is there, in fact, any medical basis for the persistent speculation that--war, terrorism, and partisan politics notwithstanding--the trouble with Dick Cheney is, quite literally, a broken heart?


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1 comment:

I.M. Small said...

"GO F* YOURSELF!"

"Go fuck yourself" Dick Cheney says
So very erudite--
But such a comment never plays
Upon the news at night
When it is yelled a thousandfold
By angry citizens and bold.

"Go fuck yourself" upon the floor
Of the USA Senate,
Quoth Dick, master of crude rapport,
Held fast as any tenet
By all his crew (like on the Web
The famous finger; ´tis not Jeb).

´Tis you, America, accept
This kind of crudity
In speaking; have grown most adept
All dressed in nudity
Like as that famous emperor
Whom none would tell, his ass was bare.

"Go fuck yourself," with these elected
You ought to be ashamed--
So liberties go unprotected:
Is free speech to be claimed
But for your glib obscenities?
Spare me the histrionics, please.

Dick Cheney and his motley crew
Are very much like me and you
(But more like you, I dare to hazard;
This brave new world where men are tasered
For speaking out, you have created--
Obscenities but tolerated).